National News

Commission does not understand the ‘day-to-day reality’ for small charities, says SCC boss

From Civil Society

The Charity Commission does not understand the “day-to-day reality” facing small charities, Rita Chadha, chief executive of the Small Charities Coalition (SCC), has said.  Speaking in an interview with Civil Society News, she said the Commission must “keep up-to-date with the speed and with the needs of small charities”, and urged it to become a more “benevolent” regulator.

Chadha also said there has been a “subtle pressure” on small charities which have come to fear campaigning. “I think it would be interesting to see the Charity Commission come and run a small charity for the day, that would be my challenge.

My challenge to Helen Stephenson – come and do my job for a day – let’s do a job swap,” she said. She added: “I am sure her job is not easy either, but I do not think they understand the day-to-day reality of a small charity”.

The umbrella body has also unveiled a new strategy, which will involve redefining its remit to focus its attention on the very smallest charities.

You can read the full article here

A child becomes homeless in Britain every eight minutes

According to a new report from Shelter, published on 3rd December, a staggering 135,000 children in Britain are homeless, living in temporary accommodation– which is the highest number in 12 years.

For the first time, the charity has exposed the frequency with which children are becoming homeless, as its Generation Homeless report reveals a child loses their home every eight minutes. This is the equivalent of 183 children per day, enough to fill 2.5 double decker buses.

The report also shines a light on the 5,683 homeless families with children currently living in emergency B&Bs and hostels – widely considered the worst type of accommodation. Families are often squashed into one room with little space to cook, play or eat their meals; are forced to share bathrooms with strangers; and the accommodation is often located miles away from schools, jobs and loved ones.

You can read the full press release here

You can read the report as an online pdf here

Guidance on bailiff and enforcement officer scam

Government have become aware of scammers phoning members of the public, posing as County Court bailiffs, High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) and Certificated Enforcement Agents (CEAs).

During the calls, the fraudsters claim that the person owes money, and demands that they transfer funds into a bank account.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service may contact you by phone to discuss a warrant of control and will offer to take debit or credit card payments over the phone.

However, they will never:

  • telephone you to ask for your bank details
  • telephone you to ask you to make a bank transfer using your sort code and account number.

If anyone claiming to be a county court bailiff, an HCEO or CEA calls asking for this information, you should not make any payment and not provide your bank details.

You should end the call and contact:

MUTINY – Black and West Indian WW1 veterans stories

Sweet Patootie Arts  are producers of documentaries and heritage interpretation

They have just released , MUTINY – Black British West Indies WW1 veterans tell their story

This documentary looks at the British Caribbean experience of the First World War and its legacies, as revealed by the last surviving veterans of the British West Indies Regiment. The film is formed of archival materials, drama reconstructions and eye-witness and expert interviews shot in Jamaica, Cuba, Guyana, Barbados, St. Lucia, Italy and the UK.

To find out more about the film go to their website

You can download an information pack about the film here

Eight common Gift Aid issues to look out for

Gift Aid and the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme are worth £1.4 billion to UK charities annually, and government research in 2018 suggested they could be worth another £600 million. However for many charities Gift Aid is not as simple as it looks.

There are many potential complications in the Gift Aid process and in this article we have outlined a number of common issues you may need to address to ensure that your charity is claiming Gift Aid correctly and maximising its value.

To find out more go to the Buzzacott website

Shaping healthier lives

The Local Government Association is working in partnership with the Health Foundation on a new programme tackling the wider determinants of health.

The ‘shaping places for healthier lives’ programme will support innovation by five local systems over three years, through funding and a learning approach to act on the wider determinants of health.

Further details are available in their prospectus

Bank of England’s chief economist calls for charity sector productivity review

From Civil Society

The charity sector needs to review how it measures productivity, according to Andy Haldane, chief economist at the Bank of England and co-founder of Pro bono Economics. Writing in the December edition of Civil Society Media’s Charity Finance magazine, Haldane calls for an equivalent of the public sector’s Atkinson Report.

In 2005, the government commissioned Professor Tony Atkinson to recommend improvements to how the public sector measured productivity. Haldane says the resulting report “served as a call-to-arms for improving our measurement framework for public services and placing them on a more equal footing with the private sector.”

“What we need today is the equivalent of the Atkinson Review for the third sector: an authoritative account of what a coherent and comprehensive measurement framework for the charitable would look like and how to develop it, recognising the different conceptions of ‘value’ and ‘productivity’ this gives rise to,” he writes. “This, too, could serve as a call-to-arms, not only on better measurement but on better management, better financing and better policy in the sector. Not only does the sector need this; so too does society.”

Haldane argues that, while it is difficult for the sector as its outputs are “social rather than financial”, this is not a case of “economists wanting to know the price of everything, while at the same time understanding the value of nothing.”

You can read the rest of the article here

Survey finds that more than a third of small charities restructured last year

From Civil Society

More than a third of small charities restructured last year, according to recently published research.

The third Small Charity Leaders Insight Report also found that 70 per cent of small charity leaders say that there is more uncertainty than before, with 37 per cent revealing that they have restructured their organisation in the past 12 months.

In September and October 2019, the Garfield Weston Foundation and Pilotlight conducted an online survey, which received 271 responses from charity leaders running organisations with incomes under £5m.

The biggest challenge of the last year, cited by 52 per cent of respondents, was ensuring that their charity complied with new legislation and best practice.

Just over one-fifth (21 per cent) said uncertainty relating to Brexit was a challenge, 36 per cent said they had struggled to recruit for a key role.

You can read the rest of the article here

You can read the survey report as an online pdf here

Child cruelty and neglect crimes continue to rise every year

In 2018/19 there were 20,024 recorded crimes.

The NSPCC analysed police data for the whole of the UK and found child cruelty and neglect offences have risen every year over the last 5 years

Crimes reported included:

  • extreme cases of deliberate neglect
  • assault
  • abandonment
  • or exposure to serious harm and unnecessary suffering.

Go to the NSPCC website for more information

An estimated 1 in 4 children and young people have problematic smartphone usage

A study by researchers at King’s College London has estimated that one in four children and young people use their smartphones in a way that is consistent with a behavioural addiction. The research was published on 29th November in BMC Psychiatry

By analysing literature that has been published since 2011 when smartphones first became widespread, the range of studies showed that 10-30% of children and young people used their smartphones in a dysfunctional way, which means an average of 23% were showing problematic smartphone usage (PSU).

PSU was defined as any behaviour linked to smartphones that has the features of an addiction, such as feeling panicky or upset when the phone is unavailable, finding it difficult to control the amount of time spent on the phone and using the phone to the detriment of other enjoyable activities.

The study is the first to investigate the prevalence of PSU in children and young people at this scale, summarising findings from 41 studies that have researched a total of 41,871 teenagers and young people. The 41 studies included 30 from Asia, nine from Europe and two America. 55% of the participants were female, and young women in the 17 to 19-year-old age group were most likely to have PSU.

The researchers also investigated the links of this type of smartphone usage and mental health and found a consistent association between PSU and poor measures of mental health in terms of depressed mood, anxiety, stress, poor sleep quality and educational attainment.

You can read the full article here